Blog Kedoshim Iyar 6th 5779 בלוג קְדֹשִׁים, ו’ אייר תשע”ט

The Parashah Kedoshim begins in Leviticus 19:1 and 2 with: 

“א וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה, אֶל-מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר ב דַּבֵּר אֶל-כָּל-עֲדַת בְּנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם–קְדֹשִׁים תִּהְיוּ: כִּי קָדוֹשׁ, אֲנִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם.. And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: You shall be holy; for I the LORD your God am holy.”

What is the Creator saying to us here? Are we supposed to try to make ourselves holy because He is holy? In Chapter 20, the same word “kedoshim” appears concerning being set apart or separated. What does “to be holy” really mean? If I asked each person for their understanding of this phrase, each one would come up with a different idea. Some people think that being very religious or perfecting their practices make them holy.

If we go back to Genesis (Bereshit 1:26), we see that we were created in the likeness and image of the Creator. This means that He has placed His character traits within each human being, without exception. It does not speak about physical traits because He has no form. Chapters 19 and 20 continue by outlining in detail the Ten Commandments. Being obedient to them is what it means to be holy. His characteristics distinguish us from the rest of humanity. It’s not about performing rituals or playing a role. The Creator is not impressed with our performance because He knows us inside out. The phrase “I am your God” is repeated 16 times to remind us who He is. He tells us to “fear” Him evoking the idea of “reverence.”

What areas in our life do you think, make us holy? They are our actions, how we live, our integrity, responsibility, loyalty (true Love denotes loyalty). Rabbi Yeshua in Mattityahu 22:37 summed up the Ten Commandments with the Shema and the V’ahavta – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul and your means and love your neighbor as you love yourself”. He never invented a new Torah rather his purpose was to remind his people, Israel to return to the basic Ten Commandments in order to fulfill their role of being light to the nations. The Creator never invented the religions of the world. He wanted us to follow Him, not man.

At the end of chapter 19, He repeats “I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt” which is the First Commandment. Notice that chapter 19:3 begins with the Fifth Commandment “‏אִישׁ‏ אִמּוֹ וְאָבִיו תִּירָאוּ – honor your mother and father”. This is immediately followed by “keep my Shabbat; I am the LORD your God.” Mother and father represent givers of life and the Shabbat is for us to rest. The only way for us to truly be holy is by identifying with the Creator and doing what He tells us to do. It’s not complicated.

Whenever you are struggling with making a decision, ask yourself this question: What would the Creator do? He set down moral standards for us and it is up to us to choose to do them or not. We need to take responsibility and have integrity in our actions. It begins by putting our faith into action in order to develop trust (from Emunah to Bitachon). How many people say “Oh, I believe in God” but is that enough? Does that make us holy? Belief needs to be followed by action. Our God is a God of action. We see that in the first commandment. The Creator doesn’t ask us to do the impossible; a miracle is what He does after we have done all that we can on our own. Always remember that He wants the best for us in the same way that normal parents want the best for our children.

What do you think that the Creator thinks about humanity right now? The world is caught up in a religion of “feelings”. It has little to do with honesty, morality, integrity or responsibility. Common sense has flown out the window. The passages in this portion deal with how we live our lives. It is easy to talk about the world situation, to complain about how others are handling things but in reality, we need to look at ourselves. We always project on others rather than dealing with ourselves. Be careful not to perform a role or make yourself holier than thou. It is important to be ourselves, honest before the Creator and those around us. Today we can choose to be anyone except who we really are. Everything is covered up by what is called “love”. Sadly, many of us who say we love God, have bought the lie and are bowing to popular opinion. We regard nations doing whatever they want as being open-minded and liberal; where anything is ok as long as there is love. If we speak out against behavior that is contrary to the Torah, we are judged and forced to remain silent. Little by little humanity is being destroyed.

It is my prayer that humanity turns back to the Creator. Rabbi Yeshua said, “Blessed are those who are poor in spirit for they shall inherit the Kingdom of God.” In Hebrew, poor in spirit means to be humble before the Creator and true humility comes when we recognize how great He is and how small we are. Being holy as He is holy means to imitate His characteristics by being obedient to the basic Commandments that He has asked us to keep, no more, no less.